Last week I was supposed to be in Galway at the 15th International Conference on the Arts in Society. Like most things these days it went virtual, so I spent the time watching video submissions from other participants. The conference concluded with a Zoom call with about 20 other participants. My only previous experience of academic conferences was the medical conferences I attended when I worked in the pharmaceutical industry. The human interaction of discussing shared interests was missing and hard to replicate online.
My talk was based on the paper I wrote for my MA.
Making Art in Response to a Rare, Life-limiting Illness Diagnosis
How does one comprehend and adjust to a diagnosis of a rare life-limiting illness? This paper discusses how I have used art to respond to a diagnosis of Amyloidosis. The discussion is set within the context of artists, Jo Spence, Robert Pope, Elizabeth Jameson, Deborah Padfield, and Eugenie Lee who made work in response to cancer, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, and endometriosis diagnoses. The paper discusses how and what art can communicate about the experience of serious illness and will examine how (Murray & Gray, 2008) views on the psychology of health and (Carel, 2019) considerations of phenomenology can be used to interpret the experience of ill health for the individual. The paper will also consider how, if artwork is made as part of a healing or therapeutic process, it can also communicate something of the experience to others including clinicians, other patients, carers and the wider public. Set within current debate on the role of the arts in health and well-being, the paper considers how art can interpret and communicate the medical and personal reality of complex medical conditions and the experience of living with those conditions.
The talk can be found on YouTube https://youtu.be/AkrYJ4juwEM